Men’s Basketball Defeated by Portland State in Front of Season-High Crowd
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – Despite a double-double by Gaellan Bewernick and four players in double figures, the Northern Arizona men's basketball team dropped its 11th consecutive game Saturday 76-65 to Portland State in front of a season-high 1,104 fans at the Rolle Activity Center.
"It was a tough game," said Bewernick. "I think everyone played hard and we stepped up and try to come back. We let ourselves down and got in a hole and could not get out of it. We tried but it just wasn't good enough."
Bewernick recorded his second double-double of his career with 12 points and 10 boards to lead the Lumberjacks. Ephraim Ekanem added 14 points and eight boards, while freshman James Douglas added 12 points and junior Michael Dunn scored 11.
"Gaellan has got all the tools and played his best game tonight," said Interim Head Coach Dave Brown.
The Lumberjacks played without senior Durrell Norman, who sat out the game with back spasms.
"I took it upon myself and I have tried to step it up more and crashing the glass," said Bewernick.
The Lumberjacks fell behind in the first half when Portland State went on a 17-2 run to pull away after the game was tied at 20 at the 7:44 mark. The Vikings led by 15 at the half and led by as many as 17 seven minutes into the second half.
But the Lumberjacks never gave up in the contest, looking to win for the first time since Dec. 29. NAU pulled with eight points twice in the final three minutes but failed to get a stop each time in the following possession as the Vikings held on for the road victory.
"We just made a mistake before the final media timeout and they got it back to 10 points," said Brown. "We battled and we did some good things. But we just have mental lapses. We had to stop this team in transition and they had a surge for 5 of six minutes in the first half when we did not stop the ball in transition and it was a tough battle coming back. We did it and got back with a chance to get it there."
NAU shot 50 percent in the second half while posting the comeback effort.
The season-high crowd of over 1,100 fans witnessed an exciting game.
"It was a great crowd," said Brown. "It is what I reflect on. These people are buying into Lumberjack basketball. They are seeing these young men play hard and working at it. If we can continue to get this, we are going to give them what they are here for which is a win."
NAU remains at home this week, hosting Big Sky leader Weber State on Thursday and Idaho State on Saturday as part of a six-game home stand.